Tiger Woods, Butch Harmon, Kenny G (!) — and one of the best betting stories you’ll hear

Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon during the 2000 Open Championship.

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Tiger Woods, one of the greatest golfers of all-time, was paired with Kenny G, one of the greatest jazz saxophonists of all-time, and the jazz man got a sense of how this was going to go after four strokes. Kenny had parred the par-4 1st during this pro-am at Sherwood in L.A. And Woods birdied. 

“He looks up at me and goes, yeah, you got one letter G; I got three,” Kenny said on Barstool Sports’ Fore Play podcast this week. “I go, what the f— you talking about, Tiger? Tiger goes, p-r-o. Pro. P-r-o. You’re G; I’m p-r-o. Ohhhh, I see. I see how it’s going to be today. 

“It’s all these things. He’s a great guy. You just got to rib him.”

And at an AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, rib Woods Kenny G did. 

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In one of the best golf gambling stories you’ll hear, one that not only involves Woods and Kenny, but Woods’ coach at the time, the renowned Butch Harmon, Woods and Kenny played a putting contest at Pebble, Kenny lost on the last hole, and he owed Woods $20. From there, Kenny tells it well. 

“I said, great, that was fun. Here’s your 20, Tiger,” Kenny said on the podcast. “He goes, no, no, no, don’t worry about it, you can pay me some other time. I said, wow, Tiger, awesome. So I walk around and then I see Butch Harmon. I said, Butch, I just had this putting contest with Tiger, and I only lost 20 bucks. And he goes, he wants you to owe it to him, doesn’t he? I go, what? He goes, he wants to hold that against you. Here’s what you do — this is Butch telling me. 

“Next time you see Tiger, take the 20, put it into his pocket, look him in the eye and go, f— you. I said, I can’t do that to Tiger Woods. He goes, you got to do it. I said, OK, I will. 

“So by the way, so I play my round of golf and I’m paired with Phil [Mickelson] and I made so many putts that day — I made like putts that were on like ESPN. So the next day Tiger walks by, and he goes, hey, saw your putting lesson really worked; I saw your putts on TV. And I go, hey, thanks, and he’s walking away and there’s Butch because Butch was his coach. And Butch is looking at me like, go get him, go get him. And I go, oh s—. 

“So I’m nervous, but I walk up behind Tiger, stuffed the money into his back pocket and he looks around at me and I go, hey, f— you. And he looks at me and goes, hey, that’s a good one. Good job, bro. 

“That’s how great Tiger is.”

Woods won, and Kenny G laughed last. Great indeed. The entire podcast is worth a listen, and can be found below. 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.